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Visit this website to read about lobbying.

In the early 2000s, about 40 million people in the United States were eligible for Medicare , a government program that provides health insurance for those 65 and older. On some issues, the elderly are a powerful interest group. They donate money and time to political campaigns, and in the 2012 presidential election, 70% of those over age 65 voted, while just 49% of those aged 18 to 24 cast a ballot, according to the U.S. Census.

In 2003, Congress passed and President George Bush signed into law a substantial expansion of Medicare that helped the elderly to pay for prescription drugs. The prescription drug benefit cost the federal government about $40 billion in 2006, and the Medicare system projects that the annual cost will rise to $121 billion by 2016. The political pressure to pass a prescription drug benefit for Medicare was apparently quite high, while the political pressure to assist the 40 million with no health insurance at all was considerably lower. One reason might be that senior citizens are represented by AARP , a well-funded and well-organized lobbying group, while there is no umbrella organization to lobby for those without health insurance.

In the battle over passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) , which became known as “Obamacare,” there was heavy lobbying on all sides by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. However, a lobby group, Health Care for America Now (HCAN) , was financed by labor unions and community groups and was organized to offset corporate lobbying. HCAN, spending $60 million dollars, was successful in helping to get the legislation passed which added new regulations on insurance companies and a mandate that all individuals will obtain health insurance by 2014. The following Work It Out feature further explains voter incentives and lobbyist influence.

Paying to get your way

Suppose Congress proposes a tax on carbon emissions for certain factories in a small town of 10,000 people. The tax is estimated to reduce pollution to such an extent that it will benefit each resident by an equivalent of $300. The tax will also reduce profits to the town’s two large factories by $1 million each. How much should the factory owners be willing to spend to fight the passage of the tax, and how much should the townspeople be willing to pay to support it? Why is society unlikely to achieve the optimal outcome?

Step 1. The two factory owners each stand to lose $1 million if the tax is passed, so each should be willing to spend up to that amount to prevent the passage of the tax, a combined sum of $2 million. Of course, in the real world, there is no guarantee that lobbying efforts will be successful, so the factory owners may choose to invest an amount that is substantially lower.

Step 2. There are 10,000 townspeople, each standing to benefit by $300 if the tax passes. Theoretically, then, they should be willing to spend up to $3 million (10,000 × $300) to ensure passage. (Again, in the real world with no guarantees of success, they may choose to spend less.)

Step 3. It is costly and difficult for 10,000 people to coordinate in such a way as to influence public policy. Since each person stands to gain only $300, many may feel lobbying is not worth the effort.

Step 4. The two factory owners, however, find it very easy and profitable to coordinate their activities, so they have a greater incentive to do so.

Questions & Answers

what is population
Amadou Reply
The people living within a political or geographical boundary.
Ziyodilla
what happens to price and quantity when demand curves shift to the right
Asha Reply
price level goes up. quantity demand increases
Asit
example- inferior goods
Asit
what happens to price and quantity when supply curve shifts left?
Asha Reply
price level will increase
Asit
quantity demand will decrease
Asit
what is inflation
Pop Reply
inflation is a general and ongoing rise in the level of prices in an entire economy.
cynthia
is the pasistance increase in the price of a country economy
Liyu
kk
Duppy
yes
Aadi
how does inflation affects the economy of a country? what is deflation?
Augustine
the revenge of malthus relates "revenge" with "commodity prices". collect data for 3 commodoties and check their price evolution
Jamshi Reply
what is elasticity
dubela Reply
Elasticity is an economics concept that measures responsiveness of one variable to changes in another variable.
cynthia
right
Augustine
wooow!!
cynthia
Computer software represents
Mboledi Reply
पर्यावरण राज्यों में से किस राज्य में शिष्य शिक्षक अनुपात 30 से अधिक वाले विद्यालयों का प्रतिशत न्यूनतम होता है
plz Reply
Hey what are you trying to mean?
Kenyana
what is Asset
MUBARAK
like a banana
Ahmed
demand is the process whereby consumers are willing and able to purchase a particular product at various price over a given period of time
Samuel Reply
The law of dinimish
Frank Reply
What is the law of dinimish
Frank
What is the law of dinimish
Frank
What is the law of dinimish
Frank
opportunity cost is to forgo something for another.
jackie Reply
yes
King
what is financial market
Asheeru Reply
what is demand
Levinel Reply
Demand is an economic principle referring to a consumer's desire to purchase goods and services and willingness to pay a price for a specific good or service.
Ali
explain any three exceptions to the law of demand
Emma Reply
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Victor Reply
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Chaymae

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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